♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

I play this one about once a year, for it carries a message that we all need to hear from time to time.  Right now, all over the world, troubles abound.  In Haiti, Cuba, South Africa, protests are rocking the nations.  In much of the world, the new variants of the coronavirus pandemic are causing renewed surges, people are dying and there aren’t enough vaccines in many countries, economies are in trouble, climate change is bringing disastrous effects to people around the globe, to food and water supplies, and the list goes on.  Here in the U.S., we have such a political divide that families are being torn apart and white supremacy is threatening us all.  So tonight I play this one for everyone, to remind us that … we all share this planet, that we must come together, find ways to mend our fences, to overcome our differences.  

When I played this just over a year ago, our friend John Howell provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of at the time …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Tell Her About It ♫

Well, as I predicted, last night’s song, Precious and Few, did not attract much attention and few people liked it.  I didn’t really care, expected that, but it was one time that I played it just for me.  However, tonight’s song will, I hope, get a few more toes a-tappin’ and fingers a-snappin’, for it played well on both sides of the big pond!

Per SongFacts …

In his biography The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man, Billy Joel talks about when he first started dating Christie Brinkley. He says that she was the first person he could ever just talk to, and they would spent hours just talking – this was the basis for “Tell Her About It.” It’s simply about an a-ha moment for Joel when he realized that you could actually have a soul mate. Joel and Brinkley met in 1982, married in 1985 and divorced in 1994.

Billy Joel both wrote and performed this one.  The video is a spoof of the Ed Sullivan Show, and shows Joel singing the song as if he were on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. The cover shot for the UK release of the song was taken from the video, as seen below. An Ed Sullivan imitator (Will Jordan) introduces Joel (as “B.J. and the Affordables”) after Topo Gigio, the talking mouse, finishes his skit. During the song there are different scenes of teenagers watching Joel on TV at home, crowding around appliance store windows watching him, dancing to his song. There is even a brief scene of a Soviet cosmonaut in space listening to the song, with the lyrics displayed at the bottom in the Russian language and in Cyrillic script. At the end of the song, comedian Rodney Dangerfield is there preparing to go on stage under the false impression that he is next, thanks Joel for warming up the crowd. “Patriska the Dancing Bear” is instead called to the stage, much to Dangerfield’s disbelief.

This one reached #1 in the U.S., #4 in the UK, and #5 in Canada.

Tell Her About It
Billy Joel

Listen boy
I don’t want to see you let a good thing
Slip away

You know I don’t like watching
Anybody make the same mistakes
I made

She’s a real nice girl
And she’s always there for you
But a nice girl wouldn’t tell you what you should do

Listen boy
I’m sure that you think you got it all
Under control

You don’t want somebody telling you
The way to stay in someone’s soul

You’re a big boy now
You’ll never let her go
But that’s just the kind of thing
She ought to know

Tell her about it
Tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason to accept
That you’re for real

Tell her about it
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know you need her
Let her know how much she means

Listen boy
It’s not automatically a certain guarantee
To insure yourself
You’ve got to provide communication constantly

When you love someone
You’re always insecure
And there’s only one good way
To reassure

Tell her about it
Let her know how much you care
When she can’t be with you
Tell her you wish you were there

Tell her about it
Every day before you leave
Pay her some attention
Give her something to believe

‘Cause now and then
She’ll get to worrying
Just because you haven’t spoken
For so long
Though you may not have done anything
Will that be a consolation when she’s gone

Listen boy
It’s good information from a man
Who’s made mistakes

Just a word or two that she gets from you
Could be the difference that it makes

She’s a trusting soul
She’s put her trust in you
But a girl like that won’t tell you
What you should do

Tell her about it
Tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason
To accept that you’re for real

Tell her about it
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know you need her
Let her know how much she means

Tell her about it
Tell her how you feel right now
Tell her about it
The girl don’t want to wait too long
You got to tell her about it
Tell her now and you won’t go wrong
You got to tell her about it
Before it gets too late
You got to tell her about it
You know the girl don’t want
To wait, you got to
Tell her about it

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
Tell Her About It lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Piano Man ♫

I last played this one over two years ago, so I don’t feel too guilty for reduxing it tonight, as I am just too exhausted to go in search of new material.  Tomorrow night, I promise!  I debated  between this one and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” that has a terrific saxophone solo I just love, but this one won the coin toss. 


In 1972-1973, Billy Joel worked at the Executive Room bar in Los Angeles as a piano player using the name “Bill Martin”.  He was in dispute with his then-recording company and took the job to pay the bills while waiting for his lawyers to straighten things out back in New York.  The song Piano Man tells of a number of different characters that were based on real people Joel met while playing in the lounge.

“It was a gig I did for about six months just to pay rent. I was living in LA and trying to get out of a bad record contract I’d signed. I worked under an assumed name, the Piano Stylings of Bill Martin, and just bulls–ted my way through it. I have no idea why that song became so popular. It’s like a karaoke favorite. The melody is not very good and very repetitious, while the lyrics are like limericks. I was shocked and embarrassed when it became a hit. But my songs are like my kids and I look at that song and think: ‘My kid did pretty well.'”

His ‘kid’ did pretty well indeed!  Piano Man peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1974. Following Joel’s breakthrough as a popular musician with the release of The Stranger, it became one of his most well-known songs. It is now a highlight of Joel’s live shows, where he usually allows the audience to sing the chorus in place of him. In 2016, the Library of Congress selected Piano Man for preservation in the National Recording Registry for its “cultural, historic, or artistic significance.”

Piano Man
Billy Joel

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son, can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me”
As the smile ran away from his face
“Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”

Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinkin’ alone

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”

Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright

Songwriters: Billy Joel
Piano Man lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ She’s Got A Way ♫

I skipped my music post last night, for I was working on one when I fell asleep at the keyboard and woke a few minutes later, too disoriented to continue.  I’m starting earlier tonight!  I know I’ve already played some Billy Joel this month, but this song popped up somewhere a few days ago and it’s been haunting me ever since … well, okay, not haunting, but I keep finding myself belting out a line or two, completely out of tune, at random moments.

This song was originally released on his first studio album, Cold Spring Harbor (1971) and as a single from that album in some countries the following year.  It was also featured as a single from the 1981 live album Songs in the Attic, peaking at #23 in the U.S. and #46 in Canada … as far as I can tell, it did not chart in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.  Clive, Gary, David, Roger, Michael … any of you guys remember this one?

According to a friend of Joel’s, one Bruce Gentile, Joel wrote this song about his first wife, Elizabeth.

In a 1981 interview, Joel expressed mixed feelings about the song: “I thought it was cornball for years. I had trouble singing it at first. Then I got into it and decided everybody has a corny side, I suppose”.

She’s Got A Way
Billy Joel

She’s got a way about her
I don’t know what it is
But I know that I can’t live without her
She’s got a way of pleasin’, mmh
I don’t know what it is
But there doesn’t have to be a reason
Anyway

She’s got a smile that heals me, mmh
I don’t know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She’s got a way of talkin’, mmh
I don’t know what it is
But it lifts me up when we are walkin’
Anywhere

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around
She’s got a way of showin’, mmh
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin’
She’s got a light around her, ooh
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her
Everywhere

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around, ooh, oho
She’s got a smile that heals me, mmh
I don’t know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She’s got a way about her, mmh
I don’t know what it is
But I know that I can’t live without her
Anyway, hey

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
She’s Got A Way lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ River of Dreams ♫

I had no song in my heart tonight … still seething and grieving over the wolves … and had decided to skip my music post today, when our friend Michael (Oikos-Editorial) from Germany commented on the Billy Joel song I played a few nights ago, Honesty, and said he also liked this one by Joel.  Well, the title didn’t start any fires in my poor ol’ tired mind, but when I listened, I remembered the song well and … the rest, as they say, is history.  Thank you, Michael, for salvaging my music post today!

Billy Joel gets a lot of song ideas in his dreams, and often struggles to remember them when he wakes up. For this song, however, he woke up with the song in his head, but tried NOT to write it …

“I thought, Who the hell am I to try to pull off this gospel song, so I took a shower to wash this song away. I sang it in the shower and knew I had to do it.”

Hey … I sing in the shower!  D’you think I might have a hit song just waiting to be released?

This is a very spiritual song where Joel, who identifies himself as an atheist, includes some biblical imagery, including the line, “Through the valley of fear,”  Joel also says that the river is a religious image, as “there’s baptizing in a river and you have to cross the river – people are getting dunked in the river and there’s rivers of blood.”

The cover of the River Of Dreams album was painted by supermodel Christie Brinkley, who was Joel’s second wife.  I did not know this!  

river-of-dreams

Joel performed this song at the Grammy Awards ceremony in 1994, where it was up for Record of the Year (it lost to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”). Joel, backed by a large gospel choir on a set designed to look like a church, used the false ending about two-and-a-half minutes into the song as an opportunity to make a point: instead of waiting a beat and continuing the song, he stopped cold, looked at his watch and said, “Valuable advertising time going by… dollars.” Joel later said that he was protesting because producers cut off Frank Sinatra’s acceptance speech earlier in the telecast when Sinatra was given a Legend Award.

This song did well worldwide … it reached #3 in both the U.S. and UK, and #2 in Canada, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland, and hit #1 in New Zealand.

The River of Dreams
Song by Billy Joel

Lyrics
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To the river so deep
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it’s too hard to cross

Even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
I try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep
I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I’d never lose
Something somebody stole

I don’t know why I go walking at night
But now I’m tired and I don’t want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is that I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a river so deep
I know I’m searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind

In the middle of the night

I’m not sure about a life after this
God knows I’ve never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That runs to the promised land

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams

In the middle of the night

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
The River of Dreams lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Honesty ♫

Ever have a song just pop into your head, uninvited and seemingly for no reason at all other than to annoy?  As I was wrapping up my ‘good people’ post this evening, assessing what I had left to do before I could seek some much-needed sleep, this song popped into my head and refused … absolutely refused to leave so that I could find … a song … for my music … post.  Oh.  Wait.  This is a song.  Seems this song has a desire to be played tonight.

Honesty was solely written by Billy Joel while production was handled by Phil Ramone.  It is the second song from his sixth studio album 52nd Street (1978).  Other than that, I don’t have a lot of background trivia, but I think the lyrics speak for themselves.

Joel performed the song with Elton John at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in July 1994. First, they sang Your Song (1970) by Elton and after that they performed Honesty while playing on the piano.

Released in 1979, this song wasn’t a huge hit in the U.S., reaching only #24, hit #16 in Canada, and didn’t chart at all in the UK.  Perhaps songs about honesty make people uncomfortable?

Honesty
Billy Joel

If you search for tenderness
It isn’t hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don’t want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

I can find a lover
I can find a friend
I can have security until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me
With promises again
I know, I know

When I’m deep inside of me
Don’t be too concerned
I won’t ask for nothin’ while I’m gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
‘Cause you’re the one I depend upon

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
Honesty lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust Ave

♫ My Life ♫

Rawgod said he was in the mood for some of the older music by The Doors, so I went in search of …  But in my travels ‘cross the music world, I came across this and it cried out, “Me, ME … Play ME!!!”  Another night, rawgod … I promise not to forget!

This song by Billy Joel first appeared on his 1978 album 52nd Street, and a single version was released in the fall of 1978.

My  Life was used as the theme song for the ABC television series Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks (1980–82), albeit in a re-recorded version with a different vocalist. However, due to licensing issues it does not appear on the VHS and DVD releases of the series, nor is it used in the show’s syndicated airings.

I don’t find much trivia about this song, but the one tidbit I found fun is that Chicago members Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus performed the backing vocals and sang along with Billy Joel during the bridge and in the outro (“Keep it to yourself, it’s my life”).

My Life
Billy Joel

Got a call from an old friend we’d used to be real close
Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you you can’t sleep alone in a strange place
Then they’ll tell you can’t sleep with somebody else
Ah but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it’s O.K. you wake up with yourself

I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Joel
My Life lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Leader Of The Pack ♫

Some of you were still chewing on table legs when this song came out in 1964, some of you weren’t even born yet.  But I bet that some of my readers will remember this one and perhaps grin just a bit.  Right John?  Keith?  David?  Larry?

This was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and producer Shadow Morton. Morton was looking for a follow-up to the first Shangri-Las’ hit, Remember (Walking in the Sand). He had a motorcycle and was part of a motorcycle gang in his youth, so he, Greenwich and Barry decided to use that as the theme. Together, they came up with the rather dramatic story, being sure to name the characters in the lyric (Betty and Johnny) so the listener could form an attachment. A hallmark of the song is the spoken dialogue that sets up the story.

Now here’s something I bet you didn’t know … guess who the piano player was?  No, I’m not telling until you take at least one guess.  It was a young Billy Joel!  Maybe.  According to Joel …

“I know I played piano on a session. The girls themselves weren’t at the session, but that kinda happens all the time, the singers come in later. I played note for note what is on the record, but I wasn’t in the musician’s union – I was about 14 or 15 – so for all I know they may have got a union guy in to do it later. I never got paid, never got a form to show it was me on the record, so I can’t say for sure it’s me, but I like to think it was. Actually, it was my very first recording session – a guitar player friend got me in. I also did ‘Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand)’.  The producer, Shadow Morton, was a strange guy. He had a very theatrical way of producing, he used to wear a cape in the studio. I don’t know if he’d been taking any intoxicating substances – what did I know at that age? – but he was very intimidating to a young kid like me. I just kept my head down hoping no one would find out I wasn’t in the union, but I never got paid, so maybe someone squealed on me.”

According to Jeff Barry, they used a real motorcycle for the sound of the revving engine. Shadow Morton sometimes talked about how they wheeled the motorcycle into the studio to record it, but Barry explained that they attached a microphone to a long cable and recorded it on the street outside the New York City studio (Mirasound Studios on 47th Street). The bike was a Harley Davidson owned by Barry’s engineer, Joe Venneri. Fortunately, Venneri’s Harley was not used to create the crashing sound – that was a sound effect.

Later in 1964, the producers Ron Dante (Sugar, Sugar), Tommy Wynn and Danny Jordan released a parody of this song called “Leader Of The Laundromat,” which they issued under the name The Detergents. In that song, a guy falls for a girl in a laundromat, and it doesn’t end well. This parody went to #19 in the US.

In the UK, this charted three times: first at #11 when it was initially released, then at #3 with a 1972 re-release, followed by a 1976 re-release at #7.  This song has been covered by a wide range of artists, including Twisted Sister, The Chipmunks, and Bette Midler.   An odd bunch, for sure!  I actually listened to the Chipmunks’ version and nearly choked on my tortilla chip laughing!  Ah well …

Leader of the Pack
The Shangri-Las

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let’s ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?
Mm-hmm
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
Uh-uh
By the way, where’d you meet him?

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That’s when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

My folks were always putting him down (down, down)
They said he came from the wrong side of town
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

One day my dad said, “Find someone new”
I had to tell my Jimmy we’re through
(whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?)
He stood there and asked me why
But all I could do was cry
I’m sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)

[spoken]
He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night
I begged him to go slow
But whether he heard, I’ll never know

Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!
I felt so helpless, what could I do?
Remembering all the things we’d been through
In school they all stop and stare
I can’t hide the tears, but I don’t care
I’ll never forget him (the leader of the pack)

The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
The leader of the pack – now he’s gone
[fade]

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jeff Barry / Ellie Greenwich / George Morton
Leader of the Pack lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Carlin America Inc

♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

Concentrating on my ‘good people’ post this evening, I hadn’t even given a thought to my music post.  But, after finishing the ‘good people’, and turning to comments from yesterday’s posts, I came across one from friend John Howell that led me to this song.  I’ve posted it before, and will do so again, for it carries a message that we need to be reminded of over and over.  John provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Just The Way You Are ♫

Tonight, I am desperately in need of some music … I’ve written three posts, responded to over 100 comments, answered a multitude of emails, taken down (finally) the Christmas decorations, cleaned kitchen, showered, cooked supper, rolled smokes, and now I need to wind down with some good music.  I had a Bee Gees song going through my head that I was going to play, but … I had already played it back in March, and I’ve redux-ed about enough lately.  Next best thing … Billy Joel singing the words every woman would love to hear!

Joel wrote this song about his first wife, Elizabeth. A pure expression of unconditional love, he gave it to her as a birthday present.  Sadly, after nine years of marriage, Joel and Elizabeth divorced in 1982. Joel’s next two marriages didn’t work out either. He was married to Christie Brinkley from 1985-1994, and to Katie Lee from 2004-2010.  I had a boss one time who had been married three times in about ten years, and after I worked for him for two years, I understood why.  But, back to the song …

Says Mr. Joel …

“Every time I wrote a song for a person I was in a relationship with, it didn’t last. It was kind of like the curse. Here’s your song – we might as well say goodbye now.”

This won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 1979 ceremony. It was a breakthrough for Joel, whose biggest hit to this point was Piano Man, which reached #25 in the US.

“I was absolutely surprised it won a Grammy. It wasn’t even rock ‘n’ roll, it was like a standard with a little bit of R&B in it. It reminded me of an old Stevie Wonder recording.”

Barry White’s cover version hit #12 in the UK in 1978. The song was also covered by Frank Sinatra and Isaac Hayes.  Now, since about half of my regular readers hail from outside the U.S., most from the UK, Canada or Australia, I thought I should check out the Barry White version, and I absolutely loved it.  So, I was going to play both Billy Joel’s and Barry White’s, right?  And then … I happened upon yet another version that … well, I simply could not resist.  It is sung by Billy Joel, but in a slightly different venue and with slightly different lyrics … but it made me SMILE!  So, you get three versions … pick one or listen to all … I don’t care, just so long as you SMILE!

Just The Way You Are
Billy Joel

Don’t go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore

I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times; I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you?

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are

Songwriters: Billy Joel
Just The Way You Are lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management